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Plane cabin Houston: Asleep passenger abandoned on dark aircraft

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A plane cabin at a Houston Airport terminal is at the center of an investigation as to why a man was left alone and trapped. Tom Wagner fell asleep aboard a United Airlines flight recently, but when he woke up in the plane's cabin, it was quiet, dark, and he was alone. Apparently, the flight's crew forgot about the sleeping passenger in a Houston layover.

The plane cabin at Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport was where post-flight workers found Wagner a half an hour after receiving a call from his girlfriend of the trapped passenger, according to a Dec. 9 Independent news report.

I woke up and the lights were out. I was like 'what's going on?' They didn't sweep the plane; I mean who shut the door?" Wagner said after the ordeal.

Wagner said all he remembers after boarding the ExpressJet plane in Lafayette, La was taking his hat off and dozing off in a seat at the back of the airliner. And when he woke up in a dark and empty plane cabin in Houston, he initially thought he was dreaming.

He placed a call to his girlfriend, who thought he was joking. Nonetheless, she called United and workers responded by rescuing the abandoned passenger.

After news broke a passenger was trapped in a plane cabin at Houston Airport, United Airlines released this statement:

An ExpressJet passenger remained on board flight 4245, operating as United Express from Lafayette, La. to Houston on Friday, Dec. 6, after all passengers had deplaned. ExpressJet is investigating to determine how this occurred. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this caused for the passenger."

While the "plane cabin Houston" story reads like a comedy sketch, it underscores the vulnerabilities of commercial airlines even in the post-September 11th World Trade Center attacks.

Obviously, more work needs to be done.


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